THE LEGEND OF BART STARR
THE LEGEND OF BART STARR
Professional Football fans who were around at the very beginning of the fledgling NFL all remember Bart Starr as a hero, and a gentleman, for he was both. The gentleman part came naturally to him being born down south in the great state of Alabama, where chivalry was still in vogue back in those days. The hero part he had to work at.
The Green Bay Packers waited until the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft to pick a young quarterback from the University of Alabama named Bryan Bartlett Starr. The pick turned out to be fortuitous for all concerned as Starr would remain the Packers starting quarterback until his retirement as a player in 1972.
Bart Starr is so much a part of the history of the early success of the NFL in general, and the Green Bay Packers in particular, that it is impossible to mention one without bringing up the other. To this day, he remains the only NFL quarterback in the history of the league to win three consecutive league championships in 1965, 1966 and 1967.
On January 15, 1967 Bart Starr led his Green Bay Packers team, coached by the immortal Vince Lombardi, to victory in the very first Super Bowl ever, which was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, by defeating Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs by a final score of 35-10.
Super Bowl II also found Coach Lombardi and his Packers back to take on the Oakland Raiders, again with Bart Starr at quarterback. Again Green Bay dominated the game and the Packers were obviously the best NFL franchise going at the time.
Unsurprisingly, Bart Starr was named MVP in both Super Bowls I & II. He was also named the Most Valuable Player in the NFL for 1966 and has long since been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame IN Canton.
When he was finally done, Bart Starr has amassed the highest postseason quarterback passer rating in NFL history at 104.8 and an incredible 9-1 record in postseason play. Starr played in 196 NFL games, a record which stood until 2003.
Former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre was mentored by Bart Starr in his early days with the Packers. He said about the guru QB, “Bart Starr was the most kind, thoughtful and classiest person you could ever know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have called him friend and to have been mentioned in the same breath”.
Old timers will tell you that Bart Starr was the toughest football player to ever have played the game. In the 1967 NFC Championship Game, on the final play of the game, it was -48 degrees at Lambeau Field, Starr had already been sacked 8 times by the Dallas Cowboys when the Packers found themselves down by three points with 8 seconds to go in the game and the ball on the Dallas one yard line.
Starr told Lombardi that he wanted to keep the ball so the legendary coach ordered him to go out and ‘push it across the goal line’, then added famously, “And then let’s get the hell out of here”. Starr scored and was named MVP as the Packers beat Tom Landry’s Cowboys 21-17. RIP Mr. Starr.